Archive for the 'Spiders' Category
There are always some small creatures to be seen, even in winter, and yesterday, whilst on my knees looking at fungi in Cock Wood, Peasmarsh, I spotted this spider on the leaf litter. I was immediately struck by the colouring and how well it merged into the colouring of the dead leaves. Chris Bentley identified it as Agroeca (Liocranidae), probably A. brunnea.
This afternoon’s warm sun and calm conditions produced an amazing display of silvery silk strands everywhere. It must have been ideal conditions for spiderlings to go ballooning. Find out more about gossamer here.
This mornings catch was typical of this year really – a decent number of species (but nothing exceptional) with a few which are uncommon at Rye Harbour (but few real rarities), and several common migrants. The latter category this morning included quite a few Rush Veneer and the odd Diamond-back Moth (both micros), Dark Sword Grass and White-point (macros), while the ‘uncommons’ included Cypress Pug (below, a relatively recent arrival in Britain, with the first record in 1959) and Lesser Treble Bar. The only real rarity was a single Ethmia bipunctella (see here), and it doesn’t seem to have been a great year for this species.
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Wasp Spiders are increasingly in evidence at the moment, and this morning I actually turned up a male in the moth trap! Males are much smaller than females in this species, though this because of gigantism in the female rather than the small size of the male. A piece of behaviour I have seen for the first time this year involves adult males hanging aroung on the webs of immature females, waiting for them to moult into an adult. Male Wasp Spiders are often eaten during courtship, and mating with a recently moulted female reduces the risk, as while the cuticle is soft, the jaws don’t work very well!
Adult Male Wasp Spider
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This impressive spider was lurking in my moth trap this morning, having had one of the 4 Common Marbled Carpet moths for breakfast (at least it left the rarer moths alone!). Body 12 mm long, legs each about 20 mm. Many thanks to Richard, Robin and Chris who have identified it as a male Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis), a hunting spider that lives in dense vegetation. The female carries her egg cocoon in her fangs; when the eggs are about to hatch she attaches it to vegetation and spins a silken tent over it, standing guard until the young spiders disperse.
No sign of any Cattle Egrets leaving the Little Egret roost at Castle Water this morning although 46 Little Egrets left the roost. Highlights from the Beach Reserve included a Barn Owl Hunting at the back of Ternery Pool, Merlin at the River Mouth, 12 Barnacle Geese (presumed feral) in flight over Harbour Farm and 9 Brent Geese on Flat Beach. And finally a rather frosty Wasp Spider was found clinging to the gate post at Lime Kiln Cottage, the picture was taken as it started to thaw out.